I’ve posted before (here) about social landlord One Housing Group (OHG) who build and manage affordable housing and care homes for the elderly and who, with oleaginous but empty empathy, proclaim that their key corporate values include concern for their tenants, value and respect for others, making a “positive difference to our residents’ lives” and providing “much more than just a place to live” (here).
Last summer and without informing or consulting their tenants, OHG leased part of the ground floor of a residential block of flats in Stratford, east London, to the murderous British Pregnancy Advisory Service (bpas) – the UK’s largest independent abortion provider – so the latter could open an abortion centre close to Europe’s newest and largest urban shopping centre at Westfield Stratford City.
So thanks to OHG management unborn kids now suffer a brutal and bloody death on OHG residential premises, under the feet of and next door to their – originally – unaware and unsuspecting tenants. This is the same OHG that, in its Anti-Social Behaviour Policy (here), claims it will take firm action against any physical violence “whether it happens in the home, on the street or within the locality of (the) home.”
Such rank hypocrisy and hardened hearts deserve exposure, so together with the amazing Kathryn Attwood and her colleagues of Abort67 (here), I recently descended once again on the OHG head office at Chalk Farm, north London.
Abort67 is the UK associate of California-based clumsily-named but admirable Center for Bio-Ethical Reform (CBR) which ‘operates on the principle that abortion represents an evil so inexpressible that words fail us when attempting to describe its horror. Until abortion is seen, it will never be understood’ (here).
CBR uses explicit images of actual abortions, terminated babies and bloody body-parts so viewers can see and understand the sheer brutality and inhumanity of abortion; the images also and incidentally provide a dramatic window into the calloused consciences of those who knowingly propagate it. Strictly non-violent – “we oppose violence against babies and against the abortionists who kill them” – CBR’s main method is the shock tactic of standing quietly in key public places and displaying large posters of these graphic images. College campuses (eg here) and abortion centres are frequently foci for their efforts.
Almost invariably the images generate anger from pro-abortionists and revulsion by the general public to whom the sickening gory barbarity of abortion procedures, where pre-born babies are battered, poisoned and torn limb from limb, is a revelation. The images divide, but they also kick-start debate about the morality and ethics of abortion, and some attribute a pro-life opinion shift amongst US college students (here) to such tactics.
Inevitably there are shrill liberal-left accusations about the ‘Americanisation’ of the abortion issue and the import of US-style culture wars by UK Christians. But,
(a) all areas of life are influenced by US vitality, originality and dominance (where did the personal computer and internet come from?) so why should politics and campaigning be any different? UK gay activism has been profoundly impacted by the US and indeed would not exist without its elder brother across the Atlantic;
(b) Dan Blackman of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children has superbly exposed the self-Americanisation of bpas itself and the UK abortion industry (here); and
(c) CBR self-consciously models its approach on the tactics of William Wilberforce and the British anti-slavery campaigners who two hundred years ago devised radical new ways of bringing their abolitionist cause to public attention: they promoted pamphlets full of eye-witness testimony, graphics such as the famous image of the slave ship, Brookes, which showed captive Africans packed like sardines in a can and Josiah Wedgewood’s brooch that depicted an enslaved man on bended knee together with the inscription “Am I not a man and a brother?” (here).
The parallel between Wilberforce’s 19th century anti-slavery campaign and CBR’s 21st century anti-abortion activism is compelling as both deliberately use images to emphasise the humanity of the victims and the brutal nature of their treatment. They also both face powerful vested interests and an entrenched establishment, and both encounter a demonic degree of furious opposition – ‘For Wilberforce personally it meant enduring vitriolic attacks in the newspapers; he was physically assaulted, he faced death threats and he had to travel with an armed bodyguard’ (here). He also suffered a nervous breakdown.
So far the heroic Kathryn Attwood and Andy Stephenson of Abort67 have had to suffer merely venom in the newspapers (here) and social media (here), intense pressure on their church leaders and arrest and arraignment in court (here). If they continue on their mission they’ve more, much more, to come. They deserve our full support and prayers.
Meanwhile together we’re planning another vigil with visuals at both OHG and bpas in Stratford, as both organisations still need to get the picture.